Though Jerusalem winters are far less snowy than the long winters in NYC, they are still dreary and cold. I spent many chilly mornings wistfully staring out over the Lifta valley while I waited for my bus to work, searching for the first signs of winter’s end. In classic Israeli fashion, spring would always appear in one fell swoop. On the first spring morning of the year the valley’s groves of almond trees would be covered with cheerful, white blossoms and the ground would be carpeted with colorful kalaniot, the national Israeli flower.
Once I decided to move to NYC, my departure happened quickly. I didn’t have too much time to think about what I would miss. On one of my last trips to the market, I paused, growing nostalgic for the home I was leaving behind. It was quite a few months ahead of kalania season, but, on the shelf in a small pottery shop, I saw the sweet, bright flower nestled in the bottom of a handmade ceramic bowl. I knew that this red kalania was meant for me.
These days, I keep the kalania bowl on a special shelf in my apartment. Though the bowl doesn’t really match any of my other dishes, it still makes a frequent appearance on my Sabbath table, the bright little kalania showing its face as soon as the food is finished. I often find myself lingering over the flower as I wash the dishes after the meal, remembering the Jerusalem forest carpeted in anemones, appreciating the promise of a sudden, glowing spring.